On Sunday, September 30, 2012, state historic site managers Thomas Hughes at Crown Point, New York, and Elsa Gilbertson at Chimney Point, Vermont, will lead a guided round-trip walk across the new Lake Champlain Bridge connecting New York and Vermont.
For centuries, this crossing has been used by Woodlands Indians, the French, the British, and Americans. The narrow channel passage for water vessels and the peninsulas, or points, on either side made this one of the most strategic military locations along Lake Champlain, especially during the 1700s. Foliage will be at near peak this weekend, and this tour is an official National Public Lands Day (www.publiclandsday.org) activity, while for Chimney Point, this tour is the final public activity of Vermont Archeology Month (www.vtarchaeology.org).
This tour (also the last of the season) starts at 1 pm at the museum entrance at Crown Point State Historic Site. The fee is $5 for adults, free for children under 15.
Crown Point State Historic Site enjoys breath-taking views of the Lake Champlain Bridge and is located at 21 Grandview Drive on the Crown Point peninsula. The public may phone 518-597-3666 for the site’s museum.
Chimney Point State Historic Site is located at 8149 VT Route 17, at the Vermont foot of the Lake Champlain Bridge. The public may phone the site office at 802-759-2412 for information.
Both sites are open and staffed into October on site-specific weekdays plus Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Photos: Above, the new Crown Point Bridge from the Crown Point side- Below, the Crown Point Bridge from Chimney Point, which opened in 1929 and was torn down in 2011.
People from all over the northeast begin gathering today at the Chimney Point State Historic Site on Lake Champlain in Addison, Vermont, for this weekend’s annual Open Atlatl Championship. The event is back at Chimney Point after two years at Mount Independence, due to the site’s closure during the Lake Champlain Bridge construction project.
The atlatl is the ancient tool used the world over before the bow and arrow to effectively project darts and spears for hunting. During the bridge project archeology work, a number of projectile points were found here, indicating the atlatl was used historically on the very location of this championship, now in its 17th year. The event is a highlight of September’s Vermont Archaeology Month and is part of the Festival of Nations with the Crown Point, New York, State Historic Site. Come watch or participate in this unusual and interesting event. Competitors range from enthusiasts interested in trying their hand to some of the best in the country. Admission includes the museum with the 2012 exhibit on bridge archeological findings, new exhibits on the 1929 bridge, and shop with books and other items on the area’s Native American, French, and early American history. $3.00 for adults, free for children under 15.
The weekend at Chimney Point features:
Friday, September 21: atlatl workshop with Robert Berg of Thunderbird Atlatl, $65 fee includes materials and instruction, pre-registration required, noon to 5 pm. Berg teaches all over the United States and Europe. Call 802-759-2412 to pre-register.
Saturday, September 22: atlatl competition, from 10:30 until contestants have finished. $5.00 fee for competitors. Girls, boys, women, and men’s categories. All skills and abilities welcome. International Standards Accuracy Competition first, then shooting at painted animal targets to test accuracy, and lastly distance. Demonstrations of Woodland pottery making with Charlie Paquin and atlatl, flintknapping, cordage making and more with Thunderbird atlatl.
Sunday, September 23: small International Standards Accuracy Competition at 10:00, followed by master coaching (approx. 11:00 am). Flintknapping workshop with Charlie Paquin from 10:00 to 3:00—limited slots to participate, pre-registration required, observers welcome.
Saturday afternoon at Crown Point (518-597-4666) offers at the stone outdoor pavilion:
1:30 – 2:30: Va-et-Vient live acoustic concert with Vermont musicians Carol Reed, Suzanne Germain, and George Dunne.
2:30: Clinton Community College Professor David Graham speaks on the French heritage of the United States, particularly New York. Graham was project manager for the second edition of the 2012 book J’aime New York. Book signing follows talk.
The Chimney Point State Historic Site presents the history of the region’s three earliest cultures—Native American, French Colonial, and early American. The site was used by Native Americans for thousands of years, was the location of the 1731 French fort, and the museum is in the c.1785 tavern building. It is located at 8149 VT Route 17W in Addison at the foot of the new Lake Champlain Bridge. The site is open 9:30 to 5:00, Wednesdays through Sundays, with the last day of the season being Columbus Day, October 8. Call 802-759-2412 for information.
“Card of Thanks” entries were routine fare in newspapers of years past. They were commonly used by families acknowledging those who provided aid and comfort during times of bereavement. The “Cards” shared a standard format—citing doctors, nurses, and friends, followed by the names of the immediate-family members who were doing the thanking—but some stood out as unusual. The death of Crown Point’s Enos Dudley in 1950 is a case in point.Shortly after he passed, a Card of Thanks noted “the death of our beloved father, Enos J. Dudley” and featured the names of seven family members. Below it was a second Card of Thanks referring to Enos as “our beloved husband and father.” It ended with the names of six other family members.
Intriguing, for sure. My suspicion was that there had to be a story there somewhere, so I began digging. As it turns out, Enos led a pretty normal life, spent almost entirely within a few miles of his birthplace. A few details about his family, however, proved to be anything but ordinary.He was born in 1869 and married Frances Kinney of Ticonderoga in 1888. Within a year they began raising a family. Sons Roy, Jerry, and John came in quick succession, followed by twins Ella and Della. By 1902, Walter, Greta, and Keith had brought the count up to eight children.At that same time, newspaper mention was made of the ninth daughter (unusual in itself) born to the Evangelist Cassina family of Ticonderoga, a fact that will tie in to Enos’ story later.In the early 1900s, typhoid fever was the scourge of many North Country communities. Deaths were common, and in 1909, the family of Enos Dudley was hard-hit. His wife, Frances, after frequent illnesses, succumbed to the disease in late June.The Dudley children, beset by sickness, were tended to by local doctors. Various women in the community looked after the family’s everyday needs as Enos struggled with the loss of his wife. In September, tragedy struck again when 20-year-old Roy, the oldest child, died.A few months later, six of the Dudley children were stricken with scarlet fever, but all survived and were on their way to recovery by spring, thanks once again to community support.In late 1912, Enos, 43, was engaged to marry 21-year-old Christina Cassina (second daughter of the aforementioned all-girl Ticonderoga family). They were joined on November 28 in Montreal.Nine months later, both of Enos’ families expanded. On August 7, he welcomed a grandson (his son Jerry was the father), and on August 10, Enos himself became a father again when Florence was born. There were two numerical twists associated with the births: Enos’s new wife (Christina) was one year younger than his son (Jerry), and Enos’ new daughter was three days younger than his new grandson!Unusual, certainly, but perhaps not qualified for the upper stratosphere of rarities. Still, Enos and Christina weren’t finished just yet. In 1915, when he was 46 and she was 24, they had a son, Roy. (This was Enos’ second Roy. His first Roy had died in 1909 from typhoid fever.) A series of health issues—back pain, a serious logging injury, and disabling bouts of sciatic rheumatism (sciatica)—plagued Enos as he aged, but in 1924, when he was 55 (life expectancy for a man then was 58), Christina gave birth to daughter Frances (named after Enos’ first wife).There was certainly no lack of drama or trauma in the life of Enos Dudley. Six months after Frances was born, Enos was buried beneath a load of wood that tipped over. He was hospitalized in critical condition with kidney damage and two broken ribs, but eventually recovered.In 1927, while working on road construction, he suffered serious injuries that almost resulted in the loss of an eye. Again, Enos survived, damaged but intact.In 1929, he nearly lost 14-year-old Roy in a winter sledding accident on Sugar Hill at Crown Point. On a roadway seldom used by automobiles, Roy was seated behind a 12-year-old friend when their speeding sled collided with a passing car. The younger boy was killed instantly, but his body cushioned the impact for Roy, who escaped with only minor injuries.Enos also suffered recurring bouts of severe rheumatism that required hospitalization. After one such incident, he was released from the hospital in spring 1930.Maybe it was the remarkable curative powers of the folks at the Moses-Ludington Hospital in Ticonderoga that kept him going. Whatever it was, apparently Enos felt realbetter real soon. In January 1931, nine months after his release, wife Christina gave birth to a daughter, Bernice. Already a grandfather many times over, the proud new dad was now 62 years old.Over the years, Enos worked many jobs to support his families, including farming, logging, operating an apartment building, driving a school bus, and working construction. In 1931 he ran one of the 20 gas stations (another very unusual number) that existed in Crown Point, and took a second job as night watchman at the Crown Point State Historic Site.Soon he returned to farming in the daytime while still maintaining the watchman job at night. Meanwhile, the family continued to grow, and within a few years, Enos was twice made a great-grandfather. Clearly his golden years would be filled with children of all ages.Perhaps that’s a bit of an understatement. On June 23, 1936, grandson William Enos Meldon was born to Enos’ daughter, Florence. And 20 days later, on July 13—if you haven’t already guessed—Enos and Christina welcomed their sixth child, Hugh.As crazy as it seems, this new son was younger than all of Enos’ grandchildren—and younger than his two great-grandchildren! Now THAT might qualify for any list of rare occurrences.Hugh was his 14th offspring. One child of Enos and Christina’s six children had not survived, so when Hugh was born, seven of eight children from Enos’ first marriage and five of six from his second marriage were all alive.In an interview, Enos said he worked two jobs and slept only four to five hours a day (and that any more sleep than that was a waste of time). Through hard times and near-fatal accidents, he had endured. No one would be questioning Enos Dudley’s stamina for those reasons, and perhaps one other: his youngest (Hugh) and oldest (the first Roy) children were born over 47 years apart … and long before the development of little blue pills.Another interesting coincidence: at that point, Enos’ wife Christina was 45, and he had been married for 45 years—21 to Frances and 24 to Christina.In 1939, Enos was hospitalized for heart problems and high blood pressure, but as tough as he was, two more years passed before he finally retired from the watchman job at age 72.Enos was finished having children of his own, but the family continued to grow, and the ups and downs of life continued. Daughter Frances was valedictorian of her class- son Roy served two years in Europe during World War Two- and wife Christina fell and broke her shoulder in 1948.Enos required more hospital stays and eventually moved to the Wells Nursing Home in Ticonderoga. In 1950, his grandson, Kenneth, 39, died following surgery. Three months later, Enos, 82, passed away, prompting two Cards of Thanks from two very appreciative families.Photo L to R: Daughter Florence Meldon, grandson William Meldon, son Hugh Dudley, and Enos Dudley—great-grandfat her, proud new grandfather, and proud new father (1936).Lawrence Gooley has authored eleven books and dozens of articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004. Expanding their services in 2008, they have produced 23 titles to date, and are now offering web design. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.
What follows is a guest essay by Thomas Hughes, Director of the Crown Point State Historic Site on Lake Champlain in Essex County, NY. The site includes two National Historic Landmarks: the ruins of French-built Fort St. Frederic (1734-59) and the ruins of Crown Point’s British fort (1759-73).
Dedicated 100 years ago this month on July 5, 1912, and located at a prominent site that is steeped in history, the Champlain Memorial Lighthouse serves as a monument to the 1609 voyage on Lake Champlain by French explorer Samuel Champlain.
This Champlain Memorial rises from a small point of land just southeast of the Lake Champlain Bridge. In July 1609, Samuel Champlain was the first European to record seeing this majestic lake which he named for himself. Late that month, Algonquin, Huron, and Montagnais Indians in canoes guided Champlain and two fellow Frenchmen southward from the St. Lawrence River region onto Lake Champlain, so that the three Europeans might join the Algonquins in a military engagement against the Algonquin’s Iroquois enemies. A battle took place (perhaps near the present-day site of the lighthouse), the arquebus firearms used by the three Frenchmen proved decisive, and the Algonquins and French returned northward.
Over 100 years later, the French built a fortified windmill here (circa 1737), as part of their Fort St. Frederic military and civilian complex. The windmill ground grain for the fort garrison and for the nearby French civilian population but also served as an outer military defensive structure in that the windmill was fortified with cannons. The French blew up their windmill in late-July 1759, as the French military abandoned Fort St. Frederic to the advancing British army. In August 1759, when the British began to build a vast Crown Point fort, to be their primary fortification on Lake Champlain, the lighthouse site was chosen for one of their outer forts, the Grenadier Redoubt. Remains of part of the Grenadier Redoubt can still be seen today, immediately south of the lighthouse.
On May 12, 1775, during the outbreak of the War for Independence, a few British soldiers at Crown Point were captured by 100 “Green Mountain Boys” (from the Hampshire Grants) under the command of Seth Warner. In addition to taking the strategic location from the British, the rebels liberated a great prize: 111 British cannon.
In peacetime, commerce grew on Lake Champlain, as did the need for a lighthouse at the narrows at the point of the Crown Point peninsula. The Crown Point Lighthouse was built in 1858 as a 55-foot octagonal limestone tower. Trapezoidal windowpanes encased the lantern room, from where a fifth-order Fresnel lens beamed a fixed white light at a focal plane of eighty-three feet. The Crown Point Lighthouse faithfully served for over 70 years.
In time for the 300th anniversaries in 1909, the States of New York and Vermont each established tercentennial commissions to organize events to celebrate Champlain’s lake voyage. The festivities that the commissions organized commenced at Crown Point on Monday, July 5, 1909 with an address by New York State Governor (Glens Falls native and future U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice) Charles Evans Hughes, Indian pageants, and fireworks.
Besides planning the week-long celebration, the commissions from New York and Vermont also desired to erect a suitable and permanent memorial to Champlain. One suggestion that appeared in a local newspaper as a Letter to the Editor was to convert an existing lighthouse into a memorial. Incorporating the memorial with a lighthouse seemed a fitting way to commemorate an explorer and navigator of Champlain’s stature. Various sites on Lake Champlain (including Cumberland Head, Plattsburgh, Isle La Motte, Bluff Point, Split Rock, Rock Dunder, Ticonderoga, Mount Defiance, and Juniper Island) were considered for the memorial before the two commissions, with the blessing of the U.S. Lighthouse Service, agreed in 1910 on Crown Point.
According to the Ticonderoga Sentinel (page one, October 13, 1910), “The Memorial Committee of the Lake Champlain Tercentenary Commission, appointed from New York and Vermont, announced [on Wednesday, October 5, 1910] that the permanent memorial to Samuel Champlain, discoverer of Lake Champlain, would probably be a lighthouse instead of a memorial statue or monument …The expense of the memorial is $76,000. … The members of the committees were guests … Wednesday on board the steamer Vermont, and the members of the association viewed the proposed site that day.”
With $50,000 in funds set aside from the Tercentennial Commissions, work began on the memorial to Champlain and his exploration of the lake. The memorial was designed by Dillon, McClellan, and Beadel. The Champlain Memorial is classical and French Renaissance in style, with heavy stone columns, entablature, ornamental frieze and setbacks. The limestone exterior of the lighthouse was replaced with eight Roman Doric columns resting upon a conical base made of Fox Island granite from Maine. An ornate cornice, parapet, and lantern room were also added to complete the memorial. Parts of the foundation, the interior brick, and the cylindrical shaft holding the spiral stone staircase remain from the 1858 lighthouse.
In another page one article on June 27, 1912 the Ticonderoga Sentinel announced that “The Champlain memorial, erected on the site of the lighthouse at Crown Point, N.Y., by the states of Vermont and New York jointly through the commissions of the two states, will be dedicated Friday, July 5th. The Hon. H. Wallace Knapp, chairman of the New York commission and Dr. John M. Thomas, president of Middlebury College, a member of the Vermont commission, will present the memorial to the States …, and it will be accepted by Vermont Governor John A. Mead and by New York Governor John A. Dix [Glens Fallsnative]. …- The exercises will begin with prayer by the Rev. Dr. Lewis Francis, of Port Henry. [In addition to the Governors’ remarks,] it is expected that representatives from the British and French embassies atWashington will also be present and make addresses.”
On the side of the memorial that faces Vermont, are bronze sculptures, the largest of which was crafted by German-American Carl A. Heber (1875-1956). It depicts, above the prow of a canoe which appears to be filled with furs, Champlain standing in the center, flanked by a crouching Huron guide and a French Voyageur. These larger-than-life-size figures were cast at the Roman Bronze Works in Brooklyn.
Two months before the July 1912 dedication, France had donated a bronze profile bust (for which sculptress Camille Claudel had been the model), sculpted by the great French artist Auguste Rodin, to be incorporated into the monument. At the dedication of the memorial, the leader of the visiting French delegation remarked “The United States is raising a monument to a Frenchman, and France sends you, through us, her tribute of gratitude.” The Rodin “La France” sculpture remains visible, as located on the memorial exterior, below the larger-than-life sculpture of Champlain.
The construction of the lighthouse memorial was a joint effort of the States of New York and Vermont (two small monuments flanking the lighthouse are inscribed with the names of the tercentenary commissioners) as part of the 1909-1912 observance of Champlain’s voyage on the lake. On each side of the monument are coats of arms: New France (French North America, 1609-1763), the State of Vermont, France (at the time of Louis XIII), the United States of America, the State of New York, and Brouage (Champlain’s birthplace in France).
With the opening of the nearby Lake Champlain Bridge on August 26, 1929, the usefulness of the light as a navigational aid was short-lived. The lighthouse was taken out of active service circa 1930 and deeded to the State of New York. The light keeper’s wooden Cape Cod-style cottage, attached to the memorial lighthouse, was eventually removed. Today the Champlain Memorial lighthouse is part of the Crown Point Reservation Campground and is open to the public. The lighthouse is under the stewardship of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
A few years ago, government funds were used to repair the covered steamboat pier that was added during the 1930s and to restore the historic lighthouse, a symbol of Crown Point’s history. The restoration of the lighthouse exterior was completed in time for the 2009 quadricentennial celebration of Champlain’s historic voyage and the “La France” sculpture by Rodin was cleaned. On September 19, 2009, this Champlain Memorial was publicly re-dedicated by the states of Vermont and New York. Four weeks later, the Lake Champlain Bridge closed and during 2010 and 2011, a replacement bridge was constructed beside the lighthouse. The Champlain Memorial is visible from a sidewalk on the popular new bridge.
As a monument, the Champlain Memorial is a handsome and fitting tribute- as a lighthouse, the structure is extraordinarily ornamental and unique- as sculpture, the edifice enjoys an abundance of great works of art in bronze. This month, the Champlain Memorial begins its second century of proudly honoring Samuel Champlain, “The Father of New France.”
After many months of planning the Lake Champlain Bridge Community (LCBC) will host its two-day Grand Celebration which celebrates the re-opening of the Lake Champlain Bridge and the re-connected New York and Vermont communities that surround it. The bridge re-opened to traffic on November 7, 2011, but the celebration was postponed until now. The Grand Celebration will take place on Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20. Saturday’s events begin at 9 a.m. with an opening ceremony and end at approximately 10 p.m. after a street dance. Sunday’s events begin at 6 a.m. with a sunrise ecumenical service and close with a fireworks show at dusk. All events will take place at or near the Chimney Point State Historic Site, Addison, Vermont and the Crown Point State Historic Site, Crown Point, New York. All of the weekend’s events are free and will take place rain or shine.
Lorraine Franklin, co-chair of LCBC, said “It’s taken more than a year of planning and hard work by hundreds of dedicated people, and we hope to have an event unlike any other seen in this area.”
A schedule of events is available at LCBC’s website. A more detailed schedule, including times of musical and entertainment performances, will be available in the official event program. The program, published by The Addison Independent, will be for sale in advance and during the celebration weekend at a cost of $3/each. Proceeds from program sales will help defray the cost of the event.
The weekend kicks off with an opening ceremony at 9 a.m. at Crown Point State Historic Site (NY). Theodore (Ted) Zoli, PE, National Director of Long-Span Bridges for HNTB Corporation is the bridge’s designer and will be the keynote speaker. Several other dignitaries and representatives from federal, state and local governments and agencies will be in attendance and available for a meet & greet with the public immediately after the ceremony.
Two of the weekend’s highlights are parades—one across the Lake Champlain Bridge and one underneath it on the water. The Old Time Hometown Grand Parade (pedestrians and autos) will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday and move from Vermont to New York. The bridge will be closed to traffic during this time—approximately 60 to 90 minutes. There are currently more than 120 parade participants and some examples of the types of floats attendees will see include the original float that was in the parade that celebrated the 1929 opening as well as floats provided by the Vermont Historic Sites consisting of Chimney Point, Mount Independence w/ Fife & Drum Corp, Hubbardton Battlefield, Old Constitution House, Bennington Battle Monument and the Vermont State House. Total entrants into the parade are approximately 120 floats and vehicles.
Attendees will see many vintage vehicles in the parade—some dating from 1929 when the first Lake Champlain Bridge was opened and dedicated. Riding in the cars will be several guests who were present at the 1929 opening. These people have been dubbed “the 29ers”, and organizers expect more than 25 of them will participate in the 2012 celebration. A private reception for the 29ers is planned during the weekend to honor their attendance at both events.
Featuring many types of vessels, and led by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s schooner Lois McClure, there will be a boat flotilla that travels underneath the bridge. Formation will start at 12:30 p.m. and the flotilla will begin under the bridge at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The direction of boat traffic (north to south/south to north) will depend on prevailing winds. There is detailed information on joining the flotilla on LCBC’s website under the Celebration Events section.
Saturday’s activities will close with a street dance featuring Rick and the Ramblers. The dance will begin at 7 p.m. at the Crown Point State Historic Site (NY) and will be preceded by a dance across the bridge starting from Vermont’s Chimney Point State Historic Site at 6:30 p.m.
Sunday’s activities begin with a sunrise ecumenical service, beginning at 6 a.m. Services are on either side of the Lake Champlain Bridge and all will join at the center of the after the ceremony in a symbol of reunification.
At 3 p.m. on Sunday there will be a 5 kilometer fun run that starts and finishes at the Crown Point State Historic Site (NY) and includes a historic run over the new bridge. More details can be found at La Chute Road Runners’ website.
The weekend’s events will wrap up with a closing ceremony at the Chimney Point State Historic Site (VT) featuring Carol Reed of the French Canadian group Va et Vient and the Lake Champlain Waldorf School Dancers.
At dusk (approximately 8:30 p.m.) is the grand finale—the Lights on the Lake Fireworks Spectacular. The fireworks show is provided by Alonzo Fireworks based in Albany, NY and will be simulcast by WVTK 92.1. The firework’s soundtrack is provided by UNIR1 Network. In order to hear the music soundtrack accompanying the fireworks, attendees must have FM radio reception—MP3 players, boom box, or car radio. iPhones will have a few seconds’ delay in reception.
Both Saturday and Sunday
There are more than 50 crafters, food vendors, and non-profit agencies that will be exhibiting, educating and selling their products and services. Crafter and vendor booths will be set up underneath large tents on both sides of Lake Champlain. Food vendors will be located at The Bridge Restaurant on the Vermont side, and a wine tasting tent is located at Cottonwood on Lake Champlain, a Victorian house located at the foot of the bridge on the Vermont side, across the road from Chimney Point State Park. A complete list of crafters and vendors can be found on LCBC’s website, under Celebration Events, or in the official event program. Booths are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days.
Throughout the weekend there is a non-stop line up of performers, musicians and dancers. Performances will be held at both state historic sites and a detailed schedule will be available in the official event program.
A vintage car show will be held both days at the Crown Point State Historic Site (NY). The show will be open 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Hosted by the Vermont Automobile Enthusiasts, there will be as many as 50 cars participating—including, but not limited to the vintage vehicles that participated in Saturday’s parade across the bridge.
After a two year closure to accommodate the construction of the water ferries and bridge, the Chimney Point Historic Site (VT) re-opens the weekend of May 19-20th as well. There are many activities planned on both days to bring to life the 9,000 year history of Chimney Point and the bridge project archeological findings. Enjoy a living history encampment, from the Native Americans to the French period and the Revolution, demonstrations of early skills such as stone tool making and spinning, spinning, historic boat replicas on Saturday, and a variety of children’s activities. See the new exhibit with highlights of the archeological discoveries, from the earliest years of Native American presence to the 1731 French fort and 1790s redware pottery.
The parking area will be at the Crown Point (NY) State Historic Site. There will be two shuttle buses that will run continuously during event hours from the New York parking lot, to the New York waterfront, and to the ferry landing in Vermont.
Boat Launch Information
Below is a list of the boat launches available during the weekend.
· McCuen Slang, Rte. 125, Addison, VT
· Port Henry Boat Launch, Port Henry, NY
· NYSDEC Boat Launch, Ticonderoga, NY
· Van Slooten Marina, Port Henry, NY
· Champlain Bridge Marina, West Addison, VT
Boat launches at Chimney Point State Historic Site, VT and Crown Point State Reservation Campground, NY will be closed during the weekend
An online auction is being held in conjunction with the event. More than 20 items have been donated by local businesses and artists. Proceeds from the auction will help underwrite the cost of the weekend’s activities. Items can be viewed and bid on at www.biddingforgood.com/accoc. The auction closes at midnight on May 15th.
There is an official limited edition LCBC Grand Celebration commemorative T-shirt that’s being sold only during the celebration weekend. The shirt was designed and manufactured by East Coast Printers. The all-over design is dyed into the fabric and features renderings and opening dates of both the old and new bridge. Selling price is $20, with all profits helping to fund the celebration. Adult sizes only.
About the Lake Champlain Bridge Community
Members of the Lake Champlain Bridge Community include area residents, representatives from local business, historical sites, local governments, and chambers of commerce. The Community can be found on the web at www.champlainbridgecommunity.org.
The Lake Champlain Basin Program will be hosting John Krueger, City Historian of Plattsburgh and executive director of the Kent-Delord House, for a presentation titled The Lake as Battleground: 1609-1815 on Thursday, March 1st at 6:30 p.m. in the LCBP office in Grand Isle, Vermont. This program is part of the LCBP’s Love the Lake speaker series.
John Krueger began promoting Lake Champlain’s history as a guide at Fort Ticonderoga in 1970. His talk will focus on Lake Champlain as a corridor for warfare, beginning with Samuel de Champlain’s exploration and the conflict of European powers for control of the corridor. The talk will also cover the history of Lake Champlain during the Revolutionary War between the British and the American forces and their French Allies. Finally, Krueger will discuss the War of 1812 and the Battle of Plattsburgh, which secured peace between the British and American forces in 1814. A virtual tour of Fort Ticonderoga from the comfort of the LCBP office will also be included.
The LCBP office is located at 54 West Shore Road, just north of the Grand Isle ferry entrance on Rte 314. For further information, contact Colleen Hickey, LCBP, at (802) 372-3213.
Where, in the Lake Champlain region, was the richest trove of artillery pieces at the time of the outbreak of the Revolutionary War? Most published histories, including those used in the classroom, overlook the largest British fort ever built in North America – Crown Point. At 7:00 pm, May 12th, artillery expert Joseph M. Thatcher will present a free public lecture inside the museum auditorium at the Crown Point State Historic Site on the little-known but fascinating topic of “The Cannon From Crown Point.” As the long-time Supervising Curator for the New York State Bureau of Historic Sites, Thatcher tracked the movements – over the centuries – of artillery pieces. His presentation falls precisely on the 236th anniversary of the liberation (by the Green Mountain Boys militia, led by Captain Seth Warner) of more than 100 British-held artillery pieces at Crown Point. Those cannon from the French and Indian War-period would soon be put to use during the War for American Independence.
Crown Point seasonal staff will return to service at the site on Saturday, May 14, to provide history interpretation in the museum and in both fort ruins at Crown Point. Summer open hours are 9:30 – 5:00, Thursdays through Mondays. The museum contains an audio-visual presentation and exhibition, both installed in 2009, that features four different original artillery pieces from the 1700s.
Crown Point occupies a key location, both geographically and historically. Before the 1730s, Woodland Indians camped on the peninsula. In 1734, the French military built an impressive stronghold here, Fort St. Frederic, with its tall limestone tower and its artillery-fortified windmill. A quarter-century later, when the British arrived, they built a vast fort at Crown Point, starting in 1759. The limestone ruins of both the French-built fort and of the earthen walls and stone barracks of the British fort have remained largely unchanged since a devastating fire burned the British fort in April 1773, just two years before the start of the War for American Independence.
The 1776-1777 Northern Campaigns of the American War for Independence and Their Sequel: Contemporary Maps of Mainly German Origin by Thomas M. Barker and Paul R. Huey is the first, full-scale, presentation in atlas form of the two, abortive British-German invasions of New York – events crucial to understanding the rebel American victory in the War for Independence. The book includes 240 pages with 32 full-color illustrations. The bulk of the maps are from the German archives. The material has previously been little used by researchers in the United States due to linguistic and handwriting barriers. The volume includes transcriptions, translations, and detailed textual analysis of the naval and land operations of 1776 and 1777. It is written from a novel military-historical perspective, namely, British, German, loyalist, French Canadian, and First American.
The attack of Benedict Arnold and Richard Montgomery on Quebec City, the colonial assailants’ repulse and withdrawal to the Province of New York and the Hudson River corridor, prior actions in the adjacent St. Lawrence-Richelieu river region of Canada, the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain, the forts at Crown Point and Ticonderoga, and the Battles of Bennington and Saratoga all receive detailed attention. The last section of the atlas deals with the less known, final phase of combat, in which the Britons, Germans, refugee tories, Quebec militia, and Amerindians kept the insurgents off balance by mounting numerous small-scale expeditions into New York.
The significance of the publication is highlighted by Russell Bellico, author of Sails and Steam in the Mountains: A Maritime History of Lake George and Lake Champlain. He writes that Barker’s and Huey’s tome is “a superb work of scholarship based on exhaustive research on both sides of the Atlantic.” J. Winthrop Aldrich, New York State Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation, states that the maps “are of significant help now as we continue to build our understanding of what happened in our war for independence, and why. This rediscovered treasure and the illuminating commentary and notes superbly advance that understanding.”
Dr. Thomas M. Barker is emeritus professor of history, University of Albany, State University of New York at Albany. He is the author of numerous books about European military history, especially the Habsburg monarchy, Spain, World War II as well as ethnic minority issues. Dr. Paul R. Huey is a well-known New York State historical archeologist and also has many publications to his credit. He is particularly knowledgeable about the locations of old forts, battlefields, colonial and nineteenth-century buildings, and/or their buried vestiges. He works at the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation Bureau of Historic Sites office on Peebles Island in Waterford, New York. The book is co-published with the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.
The Lake Champlain Bridge Coalition has announced the formation of the Lake Champlain Bridge Community (LCB Community). The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) has entrusted the Coalition and LCB Community to create, plan and lead the public festivities that will celebrate the replacement and re-opening of the Lake Champlain Bridge. The celebration will also showcase the reunited regional communities of Addison, Vt. and Crown Point, N.Y. The LCB Community will hold a public meeting on Monday, January 24, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. at the Crown Point Historic Site Museum. The purpose of the public meeting is to encourage area residents, business owners, and other stakeholders to join the LCB Community and become involved in the celebration planning by serving on a committee, volunteering time or offering ideas. If anyone is unable to attend this meeting, they are still welcome to join the LCB Community or offer their ideas for the event. The committees will plan and organize a proposed two-day event and coordinate fundraising and marketing of the celebration.
“When NYSDOT entrusted the planning of this historic event to us, they emphasized that this should be a ‘grassroots’ celebration,” said Karen Hennessey, co-chair of the LCB Community and owner of Sugar Hill Manor B&B, Crown Point, NY. “That’s why it’s so important for us to reach out to community members and gather input as to what shape and form these celebration activities should take. We welcome everyone’s input—whether or not you can be at the meeting on January 24th.”
The date of the bridge re-opening is yet to be announced by New York’s and Vermont’s transportation departments and Flatiron Construction, the firm constructing the new bridge. Early indications suggest the re-opening will be in early- to mid-October 2011.
“The 1929 celebration of the first Lake Champlain Bridge has been the inspiration and guiding force for this upcoming event,” said Lorraine Franklin, co-chair of the LCB Community and owner of West Addison General Store. “Forty thousand people attended the opening in 1929, and we hope our event will far surpass that landmark celebration. This will be our celebration, and we all look forward to the day the second Lake Champlain Bridge is open.”
Members of the Lake Champlain Bridge Community include area residents, representatives from local business, historical sites, local governments, and chambers of commerce.
As the unofficial start of summer – Memorial Day weekend – approaches, so does the opening day for most of Vermont’s Historic Sites.
Most of the state-owned historic sites – President Calvin Coolidge, Mount Independence, Justin Morrill Homestead, Hubbardton Battlefield, Eureka Schoolhouse, Old Constitution House, and Chimney Point State Historic Sites – open for the 2010 season on Saturday, May 29. The Bennington Battle Monument site opened for the season on April 17, and the Chester Arthur Birthplace and the Hyde Log Cabin sites will open on July 3. The state’s underwater preserve – consisting of five shipwrecks in Lake Champlain – is open May 29 through mid-October depending on weather conditions.
“The state’s historic sites are a perfect way for families to get outdoors together,” said John Dumville, historic sites operations chief at the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. “The fact that Mount Independence has been recognized as a 2010 Editors’ Choice in Yankee Magazine’s Travel Guide to New England as the ‘best hike through history’ really underscores the recreational aspect of many of the sites.”
The first of several hikes at Mount Independence will take place Saturday, May 29, at 8:00 a.m. when bird expert Suzanne Wetmore will lead the annual Early Bird Nature Walk. The site features the Baldwin Trail, which meets outdoor standards for handicapped accessibility.
On Sept. 12 and Oct. 3 there will be hikes of the military trail and Mount Zion, respectively, at the Hubbardton Battlefield site.
Other events this summer include the June 5 “Climb of Your Life” at the Bennington Battle Monument, a fundraising “race” up the 34 flights of stairs at the state’s tallest building to raise money for the American Lung Association, and the 5th Annual Battle Day 5K Road Race at the monument on August 14.
Opening weekend also includes artistic and cultural events, including History Happens at Old Constitution House!, where 18th-century re-enactor Carl Malikowski his wife Carolyn demonstrate a variety of period activities including brewing, cooking, woodworking, powder horn carving, and more.
There will be a Memorial Day commemoration at noon on May 31st at the Hubbardton Battlefield site.
As part of Open Studio Weekend May 29 and 30, Vermont artisans will temporarily relocate their studios to the Coolidge State Historic Site, where visitors can watch Irene Ames of Derby demonstrate basket making in the Sweetser family tradition. In addition, Dolores Furnari of Brandon and Pat Lacy of East Wallingford will offer stenciling activities for children- Mary Perry of Salisbury, NH will demonstrate reverse painting on glass- and Rhonda Nolan of Keene, NH will stencil with bronze powders.
On August 7, the Coolidge site will host Plymouth Old Home Day, a daylong celebration featuring wagon rides, a chicken barbecue, sheep shearing, old time fiddling, traditional Vermont craft demonstrations, and children’s activities as well as the grand opening of the new President Calvin Coolidge Museum & Education Center.
Dumville said interest in the historic sites may have been piqued by the demolition of the Champlain Bridge adjacent to Chimney Point State Historic Site, which has allowed archeologists to examine the area of proposed construction further.
That led to the discovery of the foundation of what may be a small French fort dating back to 1731, and a special exhibit showcasing the archaeological work as the result of the demolition and construction has been set up at the site.
Historical re-enactment events at the sites during the season include the annual Battle of Hubbardton Revolutionary War Encampment on July 10 and 11- the Soldiers Atop the Mount re-enactment weekend July 24 and 25 at Mount Independence- and Anniversary Celebration of the Battle of Bennington August 14 and 15.
Art lovers can attend the Grace Coolidge Musicales throughout the summer at the Coolidge site, or the Plymouth Folk & Blues Concerts on September 4 and 5 at the same venue or the Homestead Gallery in the Gardens art showing at the Justin Morrill site’s beautifully restored gardens July 2 through July 18.
Finally, the fall season brings the annual atlatl competition at Chimney Point Sept. 17 through 19- the Plymouth Cheese & Harvest Festival on September 19- and the19th Century Apple and Harvest Festival at the Justin Morrill Homestead on October 10.